It's time once again for Texas Monthly food critic Patricia Sharpe's statewide look at Texas's best new restaurants. The criteria are simple. All restaurants that opened between Nov. 1, 2013 and Oct. 31, 2014 are eligible as long as it's the first location for the concept.
Unlike last year, Houston does well overall with three restaurants in the Top 10, including two in the Top 5. Sharpe rates Caracol the best new restaurant in Texas. Pax Americana comes in at number four, and Coltivare places eighth. Spanish restaurant BCN Taste & Tradition rates as the Bayou City's lone honorable mention.
In her write up, Sharpe praises Caracol, Hugo Ortega's Galleria-area seafood restaurant, for its energy. "You sense it as a palpable force that caroms from the entry to the kitchen and back, filling every nook and cranny of the restaurant’s spacious white dining rooms," she writes. Pax Americana earns praise for the way executive chef Adam Dorris uses vegetables, and Coltivare gets approval for its pizza.
The rest of the list includes two Austin restaurants, Olamaie and Odd Duck, and three from Dallas, Gemma, San Salvaje and Knife. San Antonio and Fort Worth get one spot each to round out the list.
Locally, the two most obvious snubs are Killen's Barbecue and Common Bond. Both Houston restaurants earned top spots on many best of lists, including CultureMap's, but don't even rate an honorable mention from Sharpe.